Do Christian Republicans ‘Pervert’ and ‘Cheapen’ Religion?
On Tuesday’s Bill Press radio show, former MSNBC anchor David Shuster mocked Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and Christians in genera: “I think what happens is when a politician or a figure like Tim Tebow — and I know that Bill Press has mentioned it on the show — but when a national figure, sports celebrity, politician wraps themselves in religion I believe that they diminish the significance of that religion. That instead of it being something sort of somber and serious and deep they almost pervert it and they cheapen that religion.”
I have to agree. But a couple of points need to be made.
First, Tim Tebow has not wrapped himself in his religion. This is where liberals get so much wrong about Christianity. A person’s Christian faith isn’t like a shirt or jacket that can be put on and taken off. The Bible says that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Second, if anything, Tebow’s faith has been understated. It’s the media that made such a big deal about his faith. Every time he did anything that was faith related, the press went mad with rage. When Planned Parenthood heard that he was going to appear in a Super Bowl ad with his mother, they went on the attack. Tebow’s faith is not any more prominent than that of Bethany Hamilton, the young girl who lost her arm in a 2003 shark attack while surfing. Her Christian faith was a constant in her life. The film Soul Surfer (2011) was made about her life.
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Third, it isn’t unusual for people who hold to a religious worldview to wrap themselves in their religion and do it a disservice. In fact, a study of the Bible will show that it happens frequently. Jesus was most critical of the religious leaders of His day. Take a look at Matthew 23. This is not Jesus “meek and mild.” But to compare Tebow’s public displays of faith with those of the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day is to compare apples and oranges. In fact, Tebow exercises his faith by doing the good deeds that Jesus condemns the Scribes and Pharisees for not doing, and he doesn’t do these deeds under the bright lights of the publicity cameras.
Fourth, critics like Press and Shuster don’t care about diminishing the significance of religion or cheapening it. What they really want is a religion that is all personal, ethereal, and other worldly. They don’t want a religion that has anything to say about this world, especially when that religion takes on the liberal idols of the day. According to a radio editorial some years ago, “a man’s religion and the strength of his conviction are his own personal matter,” therefore “religion should not interfere with politics.”1
This is the way liberals think. They believe they and they alone own politics, and it’s not that they are opposed to mixing religion and politics; they welcome it as long as it’s their religion that’s doing the mixing in order to support and expand their liberal agenda.
- Heard on WGST radio, Atlanta, Georgia (September 12, 1986). [↩]